Limited only by your imagination.
Aesthetics, cost and speed of installation – pick any two. That’s the choice owners and architects usually face when considering building materials for their construction projects. Precast concrete wall panels, however, make all of these available by offering design flexibility, time savings and improved profitability.
Nearly everywhere you look, new office buildings, hospitals, schools, parking garages, shopping centers and apartments are taking shape as cities continue to expand. These and other structures look fantastic clad in precast concrete wall panels, which offer a limitless variety of shapes, styles and colors.
Precast concrete wall panels are preferable to other products such as wood, cast-in-place concrete, tilt-up concrete, brick, concrete masonry and exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS) for many reasons:
Superior strength and durability
Precast concrete will continue to gain strength over time, whereas other materials can deteriorate and lose strength when exposed to UV or harsh environments. Precast concrete’s high strength and density can withstand the abuses of weather and other unforeseen forces, unlike some alternative wall construction materials. In addition, exterior cladding panels can easily be designed to handle structural building loads, thereby reducing the need for other structural components.
Ease of installation
Because precast panels are manufactured well in advance of installation, they are ready for transportation to the job site at a moment’s notice. Most panels include embedded connection hardware so they can be erected onto a steel frame quickly with a limited installation crew. Projects designed with precast concrete can save weeks or months over other materials. Precast concrete also saves considerable time over production of tilt-up panels and traditional cast-in-place floor slabs.
Because precast concrete products typically are produced in a controlled plant environment, problems affecting quality typically found on a job site are nearly eliminated. Precast concrete wall panels produced in a quality-controlled environment and installed with high-quality sealants offer a superior solution to watertightness requirements.
Reduced weather dependency
Precast concrete increases efficiency because weather will not delay production. In addition, weather conditions at the job site do not significantly affect the installation of precast wall panels, allowing the project to progress on schedule.
Precast concrete panels can be produced in virtually any color and a wide variety of finishes to achieve the desired appearance. Finishes commonly available are: smooth-as-cast, textured formliner, exposed aggregate, acid etch, brick and sand blast. Each is distinctly different and provides architects and owners a broad choice in the appearance of their structures.
Precast concrete is nontoxic, environmentally safe and made from all-natural materials, making it ideal for use in urban environments and around vegetation.
Precast concrete wall panels offer lower long-term costs when compared with other materials. They can be manufactured in a broad range of sizes, colors and textures; are durable during transportation, installation and use; can easily be installed by a small crew; are structurally sound; are environmentally safe; and are less vulnerable than other materials to damage from weather, vandalism or impact.